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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Family and Mission

God is not calling us to win the world and, in the process, lose our families. But I have known those who so enshrined family life and were so protective of “quality time” that the children never saw in their parents the kind of consuming love that made their parent’s faith attractive to them. Some have lost their children, not because they weren’t at their soccer games or didn’t take family vacations, but because they never transmitted a loyalty to Jesus that went deep enough to interrupt personal preferences. - -- David Shibley in  The Missions Addiction

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peru Trip 2011, first update

Our team hit the ground in Peru Thursday night and started with street ministry on Friday afternoon.  We split up into three groups and moved among the crowds in the market place in downtown Lima.  We saw many people healed and others gets saved.  Here is one example . . . we saw and older gentleman and two women sitting on a bench.  We asked if we could pray for them and they described ailments they wanted us to pray for.  As we began to pray one lady started breaching heavily and sobbing.  I felt the presence of Jesus strongly.  After we prayed, I asked her about her crying.  She told us that they had just been talking about their ailments and that God sent us to them!  At that, we led them to Jesus! 
We also prayed for another group of women, two of which were deaf.  They both heard popping noises when we prayed and they could partially hear after praying for them.  We also led them to Jesus.
Saturday we went into the hills outside of Lima, Comos to feed the poor.  We work with a wonderful woman, Wilma, who has a feeding center and reaches out to the children an families.  After our feeding, Wilma showed me her modest building.  They have bible studies there and in March are going to start a church service on Sundays.  I spent some time with Hector, who will be leading the ministry there.  We talked about him, his sense of calling, gifts, and I helped him with strategy and structure in the the work there. 
We prayed for a woman, Erica, who has AIDS and TB.  As we were praying for her, a beautiful young teenage girl came in and stood by us.  After praying we talked to the woman I found out that the young girl, Grace was her daughter.  I asked if we could pray for her also.  As we did I started to cry knowing that this young girl may already be infected with either condition and what will happen to her when her mother dies - she will be abused by men in the community.  She currently lives with her mother in a shack less than 10x10, with one bed.  I found out that she has been caring for her mother and sleeps in the same bed with her.  I talked to Wilma about getting her tested for AIDS and TB, educating her on normal medical precautions, getting her a mattress to sleep on, and what we can do to protect her.
Then last night we ministered at the youth service at Wilma's church.  The youth from our team sang a couple of songs and I taught on the Spirit of adoption as it relates to God as our Father.  Most of these young adults do not have stable families or good father figures, if they know their father at all.  Afterward we prayed for many.  It was awesome to see the youth - my son Daniel, Leah Flory, and Anna Marie Motis pray for these young people!

What are you tolerating in your life?

John Wesley said: “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”

I am reading a challenging little book called "Radical" by David Platt.   In it he addresses many of Jesus' hard and even harsh statements and shows how the American church has a tendency to water down or even ignore these teachings.  He attempts to show how we have water down the gospel itself and even accept, tolerate and even embrace unbiblical
lifestyles in our churches.  Then this morning I ran across this quote by John Welsey.  How true it is!  Our Peru team is reading and discussing it together.  I see a hunger in all of us to walk closer to Jesus and wrestle with his demands!  These are evidences of God's Spirit working among us.  Get the book.  Read it with an open mind and heart.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five images for our union with Christ

by Thomas Watson

1. Vine and Branches (John 15:1-5) & Roots of an Olive Tree Connected with its Limbs (Romans 11:16-18).  Jesus described the relationship by the union of a vine with its branches
2. Union of Christ with the Father (John 17:20-21).  Jesus compares this union to that between Himself and His Father.
3. Stones United to the Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:21-22).  Relationship is illustrated by the union of the stones in the temple to their foundation cornerstone.
4. Union between Head and Body (1 Corinthians).  Paul compares union to that between the head and the members of the body.
5. Union between Husband and Wife (Ephesians 5:31-32).  Union compared to that relationship between husband and wife; whereby the indissoluble and sacred bond, they are considered one legal person.

Union with Christ: A Crash Course – Justin Taylor

Union with Christ: A Crash Course – Justin Taylor

Perspective on Difficulties


The more obstacles you have, the more opportunities there are for God to do something.  -- Clarence W. Jones

videoIt is amazing what we can and will do when we have the right perspective on reality.  This week I have been meditating on 2 Thesselonians  1:3-12.  In this passage Paul points to the rewards at the return of Christ given to those who faithfully persevere through the trials of this life perseverance.  If we keep the end in view, then we are given God's strength to persevere through the difficulties of life.  It is the same truth that every athlete has when he runs a race.  He goes to great lengths training and preparing, many times at great personal cost so that when he races he will win the race and receive the prize.  Sounds like something the apostle Paul wrote!  Here is an amazing video that illustrates this point.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

James Gray on Mastering the Bible | The Scriptorium Daily: Middlebrow

I have been reading through the bible in one year for several years but this last year I read through the New Testament five times. This year I have been convinced to change my reading habits to read though one book of the bible until I 'master it.' I commend you all to consider this method of bible reading!

James Gray on Mastering the Bible | The Scriptorium Daily: Middlebrow

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Responsibility

Responsibility

Going starts where we live, but it doesn't stop there . . . . If there are a billion people who have never heard the gospel and billions of others who still have not received the gospel, then we have an obligation to go to them. This is not an option. This is a command, not a calling. What is the matter of calling is where we will go and how long we will stay. We will not all go to the same places, and we will not all stay the same length of time. But it is clearly the will of God for us to take the gospel to the nations.  -- David Platt from Radical

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An interview with John Piper about the 25th anniversary of his book Desiring God

Multnomah recently published a 25th anniversary edition of John Piper’s classic, Desiring God, Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (the only edition I do not own!). Piper answered a few questions that Justin Taylor asked him.
As anyone who knows me and and the influences in my life, you will know that I have great admiration for Piper.  He, as well as Dan Fuller (who Piper mentions) and Jonathan Edwards rescued me.  Let me explain.  "Desiring God" rescued me from legalism and obedience as duty rather than a delight; Dan Fuller rescued me from theological snobbery, showing me the unity and consistency of the whole bible in his excellent book, Unity of the Bible; and Jonathan Edwards clear and deep thinking that added theological depth and clarity (any lack of that is not attributed to him!) to my faith. 

 Justin:
In the Preface you explain the convergence of a number of things that turned you into a “Christian Hedonist” (Pascal, Lewis, the Psalms, etc.). Did you invent the term, or did you learn it from Daniel Fuller?
 I don’t remember. I certainly saw the word “hedonism” used positively in several authors roughly in the way I use it. I don’t recall seeing the exact phrase “Christian Hedonism.”
 The key living person in shaping the vision was Daniel Fuller. His unpublished Hermeneutics Syllabus that I read in his class in the Fall of 1968 had a section entitled “We are far too easily pleased.” This section developed the argument of C. S. Lewis from his sermon “The Weight of Glory.” The first page of that sermon, and it’s unpacking by Dan Fuller, was the flashpoint where things exploded in my head and heart.
 Justin:
Was there a moment you remember when the thesis crystallized in your mind: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”?
 As I recall one of the most influential early evidences for that truth in my experience was the coming together of two passages on prayer in John’s Gospel: John 14:13 and 16:24, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. . . . Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Prayer assumes the pursuit of God’s glory and our joy. Only later did I see the way Paul argued in Phil. 1:20–21—that Christ is magnified most in our dying when we count dying gain; that is, when we are more satisfied in him than anything this life offers.
I had read in seminary Edwards’s End for Which God Created the World, but did not see till years later how he came within a hair of saying God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him: “God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it.”
The way things work for me is that each time I speak on this subject, I ask the Lord for fresh power and fresh words. It is amazing to me how many fresh insights come in trying to say old things in ever new ways. One day, I don’t recall when, that particular rhyming wording came to me. I am thankful for it. It does come close to summing up my life’s work.
To read the whole interview, click here.

What is the gospel?

I sometimes hear people share the gospel that is not clear and complete. This is important because we are asking someone to commit themselves to someone and something and if that is unclear then their faith will be unclear. Here is an excellent 2.5 minute video on what is gospel: 3-Good News on Vimeo

The Wrath of God

I found this on a friends blog:  Is there such a thing as "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" apart from the reality of the "Wrath of God" against sinners? As twenty-first century believers, let us resist the temptation to water down the good news of Jesus. Let us take the counsel of our nineteenth century brother, J.C. Ryle,
Let us beware of being wise above that which is written, and more charitable than Scripture itself. Let the language of John the Baptist be deeply engraved in our hearts. Let us never be ashamed to avow our firm belief, that there is a "wrath to come" for the impenitent, and that it is possible for a man to be lost as well as to be saved. To be silent on the subject is dreadful treachery to men's souls. It only encourages them to persevere in wickedness, and fosters in their minds the devil's old delusion, "You shall not surely die." That minister is surely our best friend who tells us honestly of danger, and warns us, like John the Baptist, to "flee from the wrath to come." Never will a man flee until he sees there is real cause to be afraid. Never will he seek heaven until be is convinced that there is risk of his falling into hell. The religion in which there is no mention of hell, is not the religion of John the Baptist, and of our Lord Jesus, and His apostles.